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The gua sha facial has been around for thousands of years, but it is currently enjoying a swell of Instagram fame. Credit the instagrammable gua sha tool or the trend toward rediscovering old school beauty techniques. Whatever the reason, this ancient Chinese method for boosting skin circulation has a legion of new fans.

Devotees claim that it is the treatment to improve the look and feel of your skin. Scientific research backs up some of these claims. And it can all be done in about 5 minutes in the comfort of your own home.

Interested? Read on to find out what a gua sha facial is, how it works, and what it might do for you.

What Is A Gua Sha Facial?

Gua sha is an ancient Chinese technique that involves scraping a flat jade or rose quartz stone over the skin in upward strokes. The goal is to move stagnant energy (“chi” in Chinese), support circulation, and promote tissue drainage, by moving lymphatic fluids and releasing muscle tension.1,2

Gua sha is similar to a jade facial roller, but gua sha tends to go deeper into the skin. Of the two facial tools, gua sha scraping follows a more methodical path over the face. The strokes of a gua sha massage are typically upward to counter sagging skin. They follow the meridians of the body. And they are intended to encourage lymphatic drainage.3,4

How To Do A Gua Sha For Face And Neck

You could go to a professional spa for a gua sha facial. But one of the reasons why these facials are so popular is that you can do them on your own at home. Here’s how to do it yourself:

gua sha facial tools | Beverly Hills MDPreparation:

  • Set aside 5-10 minutes, 3-5 times a week if possible.
  • Hydrate your face with a serum or facial mist. Gua sha face massage works best when your skin is lubricated.
  • Grab your gua sha tool. You will hold it as flat as possible against your skin.

Start With The Back Of Your Neck And Shoulders:

  • Start at the back of your neck. Move the tool from the bottom of your neck and stroke upward. When you reach the base of your skull, massage side to side. Repeat 3-5 times.
  • Repeat this movement on the left and right sides of the neck, beginning at the upper shoulder and moving toward your ear. Repeat 3-5 times.

Do The Front Of The Neck:

  • Use your hand to hold your skin taut below your collarbone. With your other hand, drag the tool from your collarbone to the underside of your jawbone.
  • At your jawbone, wiggle the tool side to side.
  • Repeat 3-5 times on both sides.

gua sha facial | Beverly Hills MDDo Your Jaw:

  • Start at the center of your chin and scrape the tool up toward your ear. When you get to the ear, massage back and forth.
  • Repeat 3-5 times on both sides.

Go Over Your Cheeks:

  • Hold the skin on one side of your nose. With the other hand, take the tool and go across your face from the edge of your nose, under your cheekbone, and up to your ear.
  • Repeat 3-5 times on both sides.

Eyes And Brows:

  • Lightly drag the tool from your inner eye toward your nose. Repeat 3-5 times on both sides.
  • Drag the tool from the outer corner of your eye to your temple. Repeat 3-5 times on both sides.
  • Stroke along the brow bone, starting at the center and moving toward your temple and then up to your hairline.
  • Repeat 3-5 times on both sides.

Cover Your Forehead:

  • Gently hold your eyelid with one hand. With the other hand, pull the tool up at a diagonal from the brow bone toward the hairline. Massage and then repeat 3-5 times on each side.
  • Stroke from the area between your brows along the center of the forehead until you get to the top of your face. Massage back and forth and repeat 3-5 times.5

What Are The Benefits Of A Gua Sha Facial?

gua sha facial | Beverly Hills MDThe bulk of the scientific research done on gua sha has been related to bodywork rather than facials. Gua sha for the face is essentially the same thing, just on a smaller and more gentler scale.

Scientists have uncovered these benefits of gua sha with their studies:

  • Supports blood circulation6
  • Supports healthy blood volume7
  • Supports lymphatic flow8

How Do Those Potential Benefits Affect Your Skin?

Healthy blood circulation, blood volume, blood flow, and lymphatic flow may sound good, but what does it actually mean for you and your skin?

Fine Lines And Wrinkles

Stimulating blood circulation may help support your body’s collagen production.9 Collagen keeps your skin looking plump and youthful. It naturally decreases with age, which could lead to the formation of wrinkles and fine lines.10

Additionally, gua sha has been shown to release muscle tension. And muscle tension may contribute to the appearance of wrinkles.11,12

Facial Puffiness

gua sha facial | Beverly Hills MDWhen your face looks puffy, your skin is typically holding on to excess fluid.13 Lymphatic drainage is a key purported benefit to gua sha.14 By treating the neck in your gua sha facial, excess fluids are given a place to drain.

Hyperpigmentation And Dark Circles

Gua sha stimulates blood and lymph circulation, which may help with the appearance of hyperpigmentation and dark circles. Accumulated fluid under the eyes may contribute to the appearance of dark circles.15,16

Stress

Beauty benefits aside, treating yourself to a form of self care can put the mind and body at ease. Physical touch and massage may support feelings of physical and emotional well-being.17

And when you feel good you look good, so why not give the gua sha facial a try?

Learn More:
Type Of Face Masks: Choose The Right One For Your Skin
Amazing Rose Water Skin Benefits
Positive Ways To Deal With Stress (And Turn It Into Success)

Sources
1 https://www.purewow.com/beauty/facial-gua-sha
2 https://www.timetospa.com/2019/06/gua-sha-how-this-ancient-technique-can-improve-your-skincare-routine/
3 https://www.vogue.com/article/gua-sha-facial-jade-roller-tool
4 https://completehomespa.com/gua-sha-for-face-and-neck/
5 https://thestripe.com/facial-gua-sha-benefits/
6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17905355
7 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3359830/
8 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5028785/
9 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2856577/
10 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6047276/
11 https://www.vogue.in/content/new-skincare-tool-gua-sha-stone-benefits-for-glowing-skin
12 https://academic.oup.com/asj/article/36/8/931/2613967
13 https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003105.htm
14 https://www.shiseidogroup.com/releimg/2455-e.pdf
15 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4924417/
16 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325989.php#causes-and-risk-factors
17 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273229711000025